Instead of respecting the results of Auditor General John Doyle’s considered review of the Pacific Carbon Trust, the B.C. Liberals attacked the auditor, questioned his credibility and derided his integrity.
This fits the pattern of the Liberal government, which has preferred to dismiss, rebuff or outright attack the integrity of the auditor in the wake of his often scathing critiques.
Here are some of the more memorable examples in recent years:
- Forest land giveaways – The first major report the auditor released in 2008 was the subject of a personal attack by then-forest minister Pat Bell. The report looked at the removal of public lands from a tree farm licence by the then-Minister of Forests Rich Coleman, and found “he did not do enough to ensure that due regard was given to the public interest.”
Bell responded with an unprecedented attack on the Auditor General, saying “In my view [the report] is unprofessional and lacking in integrity. Mr. Doyle has not done his homework on it.” Environment Minister Terry Lake used the same approach Wednesday in response to the scathing audit of the Pacific Carbon Trust.
- BC Hydro deferral accounts – The auditor general found that the B.C. Liberals have been padding their bottom line by “creating the illusion of profitability where there is none” at B.C. Hydro through the use of deferral accounts that hide billions of dollars in expenditures with no plan to pay them back. The Liberals defended the use of deferral accounts and they continue to grow to this day.
- Basi/Virk Cover-Up – Since early 2011, the Auditor General has been investigating why the government decided to pay $6 million in legal fees for convicted Liberal insiders Dave Basi and Bobby Virk in October 2010. The government wasted more money by arguing against the auditor general receiving access to all documents he deemed necessary to complete his investigation. Mr. Doyle's report on the matter has yet to be released.
- Timber Management – In 2012 the Auditor General issued a scathing rebuke of the Liberal government’s forest management. It concluded that the Liberal government has completely mismanaged our forested landbase. Minister of Forests Steve Thomson dismissed the report, saying “We don’t necessarily agree with some of his conclusions in terms of estimates and numbers. We are confident that we have programs in place that meet our objectives.”
- Liberals’ Refused to re-appoint Doyle – In the ultimate attempt to silence one of their harshest critics, the Liberals refused to re-appoint Auditor General John Doyle to a second term. Despite their backtracking after being shamed into admitting that was a mistake, Mr. Doyle has accepted a new job and will be leaving B.C. in May.